Leah Smith talks about ISL, Los Angeles Current, and future plans Special

Posted Dec 4, 2019 by Markos Papadatos
Olympic gold medalist swimmer Leah Smith chatted with Digital Journal about her debut in the International Swimming League (ISL) in College Park, Maryland, where she competes for the Los Angeles Current.
Leah Smith
Leah Smith
Matt Riley, UVA Department of Athletics
"It felt awesome to make my ISL debut in Maryland," she said. "To be a part of history and to be on the incredible team I am on was really special for me."
She expressed her love for the Los Angeles Current team and is excited for the ISL grand finale in Las Vegas later this month. "The whole team is so fun, hardworking and determined. It was really cool to see us all come together even though most of the year we swim for different teams. I think that speaks to why we did so well at the US derby. We really were a united front," she said.
"To have the leadership of someone like Lenny [Krayzelburg] is amazing," she said. "So many of us looked up to him while we were young swimmers, and now, to get to know him in this role is really cool. He is passionate about the team and worked very hard to create what we have. We love Lenny," she exclaimed.
On her plans for the New Year, she said, "My plans for 2020 are to keep training hard and improving until trials, and then to give it my all there. I would like to improve some things about my technique and get stronger outside of the pool, and I think both those things will really help me elevate my swimming."
Regarding the title of the current chapter of her life, she said, "The current chapter of my life post-college I would say is titled 'Unafraid and Adaptable.' I have dealt with so many things in my career that have been unexpected or difficult and I think that I have done the best I can at navigating them."
"So I'm ready for anything that this point," she exclaimed. "The bumps in the road can only make me stronger, and I think that there is a lot of growth to be had when you have to adapt to or overcome challenges in your life."
When asked about the best advice that she was ever given, she said, "The best advice that I have ever been given is from Katie Meili and that is 'swim for you.' I think that it's easy to get caught up in who is watching and who we do not want to disappoint, but at the end of the day, you are the one working every day for your success and carrying the weight of it all."
"We all have a lot of support, but it's important to take time to celebrate the things you have done for your own career," she said. "My advice for young and aspiring swimmers is to find something you can improve each day, whether it is really big or really small that does not matter. If you think you won't be able to do something, chip away at it bit by bit and it won't seem so daunting."
To learn more about Olympic gold medalist Leah Smith, follow her on Instagram and on Twitter.